How Bastar girls made it to CRPF | delhi | Hindustan Times
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How Bastar girls made it to CRPF

Extending dates, sending recruitment officers, even giving money for the application fee, India’s frontline anti-Naxal force, the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), has gone all out over the past few months to ensure that women from the Naxal-hit areas join its mahila (women) battalion, reports Manish Tiwari.

delhi Updated: Feb 09, 2010 01:13 IST
Manish Tiwari

Extending dates, sending recruitment officers, even giving money for the application fee, India’s frontline anti-Naxal force, the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), has gone all out over the past few months to ensure that women from the Naxal-hit areas join its mahila (women) battalion.

In November last year, when the force started the process to raise this battalion — sanctioned by the home ministry with a view to recruit women, especially from the Naxal belt-— it came across bizarre statistics: not a single woman had applied from one of the most Naxal-affected region of Bastar in Chhattisgarh.

“CRPF Director General A.S. Gill asked for reasons and it turned out the aspirants could not apply since there was not a single post office operational in Bastar’s rural belt,” a senior CRPF officer said.

The CRPF then extended the date for receiving applications by a month and sent its officers to facilitate the local people, even if it meant giving them money to deposit the requisite fee of Rs 5 with their applications.

The results were encouraging. “In one month, we received 500 applicants from the Bastar region. As many as 55 have been shortlisted by us from this area,” the officer informed.

The CRPF has been given sanction to recruit about 38 battalions in the next few years, which include about 10 battalions of special action force COBRA and 10 battalions of Rapid Action Force for maintaining law and order situations.

“The government wants more and more people from the Naxal-hit areas joining the forces in the country’s fight against the insurgents and the development process initiated by it,” said a home ministry official. The fight against the Naxals is expected to be a long drawn process, but the government is ready to wait till that time.